It’s almost time to return to the virtual world that kicked off an anime sensation. Funimation UK have today announced that Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night, the first in a series that serves as an expanded retelling of the series’ opening chapter, will be released in UK & Ireland cinemas from Thursday 9th December. Tickets will go on sale from Friday 19th November.
The film is an adaptation of Sword Art Online -Progressive-, a spin-off light novel series by the franchise’s original author Reki Kawahara. The series is an expanded retelling of the first story arc, covering the progression of each floor in the virtual world of Aincrad, with a greater emphasis on the franchise’s lead heroine, Asuna Yuuki. Funimation describe the film’s story as follows:
This is a tale of the time before “Lightning Flash” and “The Black Swordsman” were known by those names…
The day that she happened to don the NerveGear, Asuna Yuuki was a third-year middle school student who’d never even touched an online game before.
On November 6, 2022, the world’s first VRMMORPG, Sword Art Online, is officially launched. But the players, still euphoric over having logged in, suddenly find themselves trapped inside the game when the Game Master deprives them of any way to log out.
The Game Master then gives them this warning “This may be a game, but it’s not something you play.” If a player dies in-game, they die in the real world.
Hearing this, all of the players panic, and pandemonium reigns.
One of those players is Asuna, but despite not yet knowing the rules of this world, she sets off to conquer the floating iron castle, Aincrad, whose peak is too high to be seen.
As the days go by in this world where death is never very far away, she has a fateful encounter. And then, a parting…
Though she’s at the mercy of the reality before her eyes, Asuna fights on with all her might, until someone appears before her: the aloof swordsman, Kirito…
Following the film’s premiere in Japan on 30th October, 2021, a sequel titled Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive-: Scherzo of a Dark Dusk was announced as being in production for release next year.
The light novel series was first released in 2012, with eight volumes currently released in Japan since, six of which are available localised into English by Yen Press. The series also received a manga adaptation with art by Kiseki Himura has been published since 2014, and in English by Yen Press since 2015.
Source: Funimation UK